“Welcome Mzungu!” sounds the cry as the children see the white men approach Aber, in northern Uganda. That is, until they recognise us, at which point wide grins spread across their faces and they excitedly reel off the customary “Ciao Alberto, ciao Massimo, ciao Juri!!”
The Inter Campus delegation was in town to check up on the progress of the training project in the area, which sees a local primary school joining forces with the Doctors with Africa (CUAMM) hospital in what is a poverty-stricken, arid part of Uganda.
We were able to take part in training sessions for the kids and sit in on development lessons for the local instructors, who are also teachers at the local school. Happily, we saw very high levels of participation, especially amongst young girls. Indeed, we were so satisfied with progress in Aber that we were able to make an unplanned visited to another Inter Campus centre, in central Uganda.
Six hours on the road brought us to Nagallama and the Saint Joseph Primary School. Much like the situation in Aber, the school in Nagallama is linked to a CUAMM hospital, though the health organisation has now handed over the day-to-day running of the facility to the Uganda health authorities.
Our surprise visit was met with much excitement, not least because we brought with us a booty of new sports kit for children and instructors alike. Michael Kutosi and Fred Mpanga are the men responsible for Inter Campus locally alongside head teacher Josephine Nanbuyungo.
As luck would have it, we arrive slap bang in the middle of a mini-Olympics competition organised by local schools, with Nagallama chosen as the venue due to its links with Inter Campus. It was a heart-warming, encouraging sight.
And so we took our leave, the children’s prayers of safe passage ringing in our ears, our minds already looking ahead to our next visit to Africa.
Until next time, Uganda!